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Have We Gone to War Again?






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The War Between Civilizations That Never Was

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Posted on Jun 18, 2009

By William Pfaff

An important change is evident in what since Samuel Huntington’s time has been mistakenly identified and manipulated as a war between Muslim and Western civilizations.

I say mistakenly for several reasons, one of them being that professor Huntington himself actually foresaw a war in which an alliance of Muslim and Chinese civilizations attacked the West, in an exaggerated Cold War scenario. (The Chinese are now on the side of the United States, where much of their fortune is tied up.)

I say manipulated because the Huntington thesis served the purpose of those Americans who believed in the inevitability of conflict with Islam as a whole—not just with individual states.

This was because 9/11 was not taken in the U.S. as an attack by a state, but instead as the action of a whole society “that hates Americans for their freedoms.” Islamic radicalism was not understood as a politico-nationalist reaction to foreign intrusion, composed of collective Arab enmity toward Israel because of its creation on Arab territory, and fear of a Western threat to the region’s strategic resources.

Washington and many if not most Americans have conceived of the affair as a conflict between us and them. “Them” might be composed of several states, including even those governed by elites with ties to the United States, as well as those dominated by radical anti-Western forces. But ultimately, they were all “them.”

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It followed from this bipolar interpretation that “we” had to do something about “them.” Such as overturning or subverting hostile Muslim governments, or organizing international opposition or sanctions on those Islamic countries identified as “rogue” or “failing” (or “failed”) states, vulnerable to radical Islamic forces.

When all of this was added together, it was simple for the West to sum it up as war by Islam against the West, dictating a Western counteroffensive against this Islamic threat; and for the other side to interpret events as a war against Islam by the West. A war that began with the Crusades was followed by imperialism in modern times, continuing with the seizure of Arab land to create Israel, and producing the Suez invasion, the Western-organized coup in Iran in 1953, various Lebanon interventions, two wars against Iraq and the invasion of Afghanistan—all part of a vast neocolonial enterprise inspired by Western religion and Western oil interests.

The thesis of war of religion, promoted on both sides, neglected the existence of a vast part of Muslim society lying outside the Middle East and Central Asia, in Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Africa, all of it with other problems to think about than oil and Israel.

The West was wrong about this being a war of civilizations, and so were the Muslims. George W. Bush’s Great War on Global Terror, against Islamic radicalism and Muslim terrorism, and the Great Fear that came close to paralyzing America after 9/11, and continues to preoccupy the American and West European governments, are both fundamentally due to a crisis inside Islamic civilization: a double crisis, of modernity and of religion.

Nothing could be clearer today in Tehran. Iran is convulsed by a struggle between its modernizing classes, reaching out to become part of a cosmopolitan international society, and to possess the respect of Western nations (if necessary, through the dangerous possession of nuclear weapons, as well as other evidences of Western modernity), and to be taken into the high councils of the modern world and be invited to participate in the rounds of international meetings where the Iranians no doubt think the world’s problems are today being settled over their heads and against their interests.

The Iranian modernizers want all this, while remaining an Islamic great power (the Islamic Great Power, if possible). They want it without losing their immortal souls and their civilization. They will, of course, as others before them (as in Turkey, and on the Christian side, in Europe and the United States), find that this combination is not easily achieved.

That is why they also suffer a religious crisis. The ayatollahs’ revolution in 1979 was a successful rejection by the Iranians of the flamboyant Westernization efforts of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, America’s “gendarme in the Middle East.” In 1971, the shah arranged a colossally extravagant party at Persepolis to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the empire of Cyrus the Great, Zoroastrian in religion. The guest list of the world’s great personages included Emperor Haile Selassi, King Moshoeshoe of Lesotho, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Ranier and Princess Grace. It extended to Presidents Tito, Ceausescu of Romania and Mobutu of Zaire, and Imelda Marcos and Spiro Agnew.

The Ayatollah Khomeini, from his exile, called it “the Devil’s Festival.” The Islamic revolution followed in 1979, and the ayatollah then ruled Iran, in Muhammad’s name, as his successors do today. But the Iranian people are restless, unsatisfied, unsure of what they should want.

Visit William Pfaff’s Web site at www.williampfaff.com.

© 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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By dihey, June 24, 2009 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

It is my opinion that we have one huge leg up in this so-called “war of civilizations”.
It is not the stupid notion that our religions are better than theirs.
It is also not the equally dumb notion that democracy is a better governance than theocracy.
It is because our women have not only unshackled themselves to a degree unknown in nearly all Muslim theocracies but that women’s multi-faceted contributions to our civilization have been accepted here not only by law but also in fact by the overwhelming majority of males especially of the younger generations.
We can only grow stronger still by fully legally unshackling homosexuals, something which our current president, who is stuck on this subject in religious muck, does not seem to understand.
Then our civilization is not likely to perish ever.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 24, 2009 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, June 23 at 10:25 pm #

Inherit, stifle yourself.  Don’t call people assholes, especially not women, and especially not Virgina.  I like Virgina. Of course if you want to identify with someone who puts a dollar sign on her coffin as an indication of her moral sensiblity, that is your right.  It takes all kinds.  Unfortunately, this includes the Checkov of New Jersey.
*******************************************

How do you know Virginia is a woman and not someone IN the Commonwealth of Virginia? (I’ve always assumed that was where the handle came from—living in NOVA near DC).

Plus I said “Ginny” has the RIGHT to be an asshole on-line—and he/she does, as do you, obnoxious as that is.

You know damn well if you can’t take the heat here at TD, get out of the kitchen!

“Ginny” drops all sorts of nasty toads all the time—like saying I don’t know what is valuable—which was one of his/her milder ones.

I’m just handing it back in kind.  If he/she cannot take nasty shit, then don’t post nasty shit!

I am unrepentant.

I wonder: Can I be buried with a $ or £ or a ¥ or a € on MY coffin? What if I’m cremated and don’t have a coffin? 

Lee Hayes requested that his body be buried in his compost pile so it would recycle.  Maybe a Gold Eagle coin could be buried with me in THAT…someone would find gold in a pile of compost….

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By Folktruther, June 23, 2009 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Inherit, stifle yourself.  Don’t call people assholes, especially not women, and especially not Virgina.  I like Virgina. Of course if you want to identify with someone who puts a dollar sign on her coffin as an indication of her moral sensiblity, that is your right.  It takes all kinds.  Unfortunately, this includes the Checkov of New Jersey.

Virgina, Obama’s Change irritates me because in issue after issue he spouts vacuous rhetoric indicating change and then promotes policies that continue the policies of Bush.  And most Amerians don’t pay close attention so they think he is actually for change.  So just as Bush deceived the Gops, OBAMA is deceiving the Dems. and by the time people understand it, the policies will have been instutionalized.

Bush mostly deceived the Gops, but Obama is deceiving the Dems.  In that respect he is WORSE than Bush becuase it is only the Dem rank and file where change can originate.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

Virginia777, June 22 at 7:59 pm #

re: ITW:

“I do not dispute this argument—It’s why I only value what Rand wrote that was (to coin a pun) valuable.  IOW, where her insights are meaningful, as opposed to where they are not.  And those meaningful insights are still valuable.”

one problem with this, logic, I can point out ITW is,

you don’t know what’s valuable.
************************************************

And you know this because you just pulled it out of your ass.

Your RIGHT to be an asshole on-line is a precious value, even though I have to put up with it.

My children are more valuable to me than anything, even more than the wife I adore and would die for.  Before we had our first child I told her: “If ever you must choose between me and the child, I beg you: Choose the child.”  She was angry and hurt and didn’t understand until he was born. THEN she understood. Completely.

Ginny, you are a real POS.

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By Ed Harges, June 22, 2009 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

re: By Virginia777, June 22 at 7:59 pm:

Heh-heh - Yeah, Virginia, there’s that….

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By Virginia777, June 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment

re: ITW:

“I do not dispute this argument—It’s why I only value what Rand wrote that was (to coin a pun) valuable.  IOW, where her insights are meaningful, as opposed to where they are not.  And those meaningful insights are still valuable.”

one problem with this, logic, I can point out ITW is,

you don’t know what’s valuable.

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By Virginia777, June 22, 2009 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

NO, Folktruther, Obama is not worse than Bush!

stop the erroneous overgeneralizing.

Why does the word “Change” insult you so??

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By Folktruther, June 22, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

That’s exactly right, truthdigger3, he is worse than Bush because he is more articulate, intelligent and appealing to the progressive population, which gets them to identify with Bushite policies.  HIs vacuous rhetoric of Change You Can Believe In is used to diguise the continuation of Bush’s wars, neoliberalism, torture, destitution, inequality and an American police state.

A good example is his Big Lie policy of a Stolen Irani Election which continues the regime change policies of Bush.  Only now the ball is carried by pseudo-progressive American Zionists who try to whitewash and disguise US involvement.

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By truedigger3, June 21, 2009 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther wrote:
“I disagree, Whyzowl, that Obama is a baby step forward.  He is consolidating the unacknowledged Bushite political counterrevolution with vacuous and obfuscating rhetoric.  He is continuing Bushite war, torture, economic inequality, and a postmodern police state.”
_________________________________________________

Folktruther,

I totally agree with you. In my opinion, Obama is worse than Bush, his blackness, toothpaste smile, make-believe measures and laws that have no real substance and his gifted oratory is very deceiving and misleading to many many people.
He shall do nothing to help the average folks whose lot will get worse during his presidency.

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By Folktruther, June 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

I disagree, Whyzowl, that Obama is a baby step forward.  He is consolidating the unacknowledged Bushite political counterrevolution with vacuous and obfuscating rhetoric.  He is continuing Bushite war, torture, economic inequality, and a postmodern police state.

the leading figure founding Monthly Review was the marxist economist Swazey.  an excellent source.

Inherit, it is true that Kubrick’s characters are not complex, but they are not childish and infantile.  and as for alyce’s intellectual ideas…. did you know that she thought prison should be used explicitly to make people suffer as much as possible.  She was strongly against rehabilitation.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

Ayn Rand was a fairly effective propagandist for “free market” capitalism, Inherit, but “free markst(s)” is a term so imprecise as to be virtually useless. It’s a blanket term used to cover over a multiplicity of sins, not the least of which are naked military imperialism—such as we’re seeing today in Afghanistan (and leeching into Pakistan) and Iraq—and the super-exploitation of labor around the globalized globe.

Rand’s idealized, cartoonish, capitalist heroes and heroines appeal to immature, manichaen sensibilities. I know, I fell totally in love with her ideas as a young man—but it was a very short affair.

Note the one thing that is always missing in her heroic novels: children. That’s where the “virtue of selfishness” really breaks down, in our selfless love for our own progeny and, by extension, to the rest of the human family.
******************************************

Why,
I do not dispute this argument—It’s why I only value what Rand wrote that was (to coin a pun) valuable.  IOW, where her insights are meaningful, as opposed to where they are not.  And those meaningful insights are still valuable.

Stanley Kubrick wasn’t big on children in his movies, either—I can think only of “Lolita” and “The Shining” as films were children are vital characters to the story.  His characters are all stick figures and cartoons.  Does that mean he wasn’t a genius and ultimately immature and childish?  Perhaps, but Dr. Strangelove, 2001, and Clockwork Orange are STILL iconic works.

Still, I TOTALLY agree that “Free Trade” is used as a phony “Bloody Flag” waved to sneak past corrupt practices that are nothing but organized theft.

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By whyzowl1, June 21, 2009 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, Inherit and Folktruther for your kind comments.

You’re right, Folktruther, the central economic fact of our time in the US and mature developed economies of the Western imperialist nations is the surprising dominance of finance capital over industrial and agricultural capital. I highly recommend the analysis of the folks over at the Monthly Review, the socialist magazine co-founded by Albert Einstein, as a good starting place to begin to try to understand the modern evolution of capitalism from Industrial Capitalism to Monopoly Capitalism, and now to Monopoly Finance Capitalism.

Ayn Rand was a fairly effective propagandist for “free market” capitalism, Inherit, but “free markst(s)” is a term so imprecise as to be virtually useless. It’s a blanket term used to cover over a multiplicity of sins, not the least of which are naked military imperialism—such as we’re seeing today in Afghanistan (and leeching into Pakistan) and Iraq—and the super-exploitation of labor around the globalized globe.

Rand’s idealized, cartoonish, capitalist heroes and heroines appeal to immature, manichaen sensibilities. I know, I fell totally in love with her ideas as a young man—but it was a very short affair.

Note the one thing that is always missing in her heroic novels: children. That’s where the “virtue of selfishness” really breaks down, in our selfless love for our own progeny and, by extension, to the rest of the human family.

I wonder about all of these various trade “agreements” that “we” have entered into. Negotiated and agreed to by whom and for the sake of whose “interests?” What is clearly meant is the interests of Americans who matter, our corporate and financial aristocracy.

Isn’t it possible, if not likely, that in these always secret negotiations, the essential trade-off isn’t the removal of our trade barriers to foreign imports—inevitably gutting our industrial base and waging class war against our own workers—for the quid pro quo of the opening of other economies to the unfettered depredations of our finance capital elites? And then to add insult to injury, the US’s corporate aristoi take their profits in offshore tax havens so they don’t even pay their fair share towards supporting the society that does anything and everything, including direct and indirect subsides and multiple tax breaks, etc., to support them.

Obama’s clearly a mild “tweak-here-and-a-tweak-there” centrist, when our system cries out for a complete rethinking and overhaul. But, one step at a time. The Obama presidency represents, at best, an extremely timorous baby step—but at least it’s in the right direction, in my opinion. We should be thankful we’re not steaming full speed backwards any longer, though if the R’s have their way we’ll resume our course of reverse progress immediately.

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By Folktruther, June 21, 2009 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Thank you very much for your excellent comment, Whyzowl.  The emphasis on finance, then, rather than production is the crucial factor, there being more money in finance.  That would then explain why the more centralized regimes, which have greater control of the banks, etc, would make better cars. 

Neoliberalism, as it develops over historical time, apparently mutates toward finance capitalism, which tends to neglect, and thus destroy, basic production. The US can’t make better cars because it is more profitable to invest in other areas, notably financial areas.

I usually address my comments to one person but anyone should feel completely free to intervene for any reason at any time.  One insight like Whyzowl’s can illumninate a whole range of power relations.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 21, 2009 at 4:44 am Link to this comment

whyzowl1, June 21 at 3:03 am #

Inherit, do you remember our exchange about why American cars were no good and we wondered why.  I now think that it is because there is more money in marketing than in manufacturing, so that is what car makers focus on.  But in less neoliberal economies, such as Japan, or Europe, there appears to be more emphasis on quality of production.  But I don’t know why that would be.  It clearly wasn’t the case in the Soviet Union.  But if it were true, that would be a reason why the marketing of US policies are much better than the policies themselves.
**********
Please allow me to butt in with a thought here.

I read an article recently—lord knows where exactly—that pointed out a subtle distinction: one can be in the car business in order to make money, or one can make cars in order to make money. The former’s management places too much emphasis on the bottom line and therefore will do whatever makes the most money, while the latter’s focus is on refining the production of cars that people want and that give them good value for their marks or yen or dollars.

It isn’t marketing, but finance that really rakes in the big bucks. In other words, when GMAC started making a greater profit than GM itself back in the 80’s, in a sense, at that moment, GM’s fate was sealed. In fact, the instant its profits eclipsed those of GM, GMAC started peddling mortgages. The rest is history.

Marketing can put lipstick on the pig, but you’re still going to have a hard time getting people to kiss it. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to sell bad ideas than bad cars.
******************************************

I have no argument with you.  Despite FT’s constant barbs at her, Ayn Rand made exactly this very same argument at several points in “Atlas Shrugged”, once where one character argues that America invented the phrase “to make money” as opposed to inheriting it or stealing it.  The other was when the lead characters are asked why they do the things THEY do rather than other enterprises that could be easier and more lucrative.  The answer, of course, is they do what they love, and, because someone ELSE values it and will pay for it. 

“Value”  and its meaning and how we achieve it may be the most significant concept she explores, despite the stupid speeches, weird domination sex, and mis-understanding of how corporations work, and total attacks on our joint contract: Government.

Had Rand ultimately been honest with herself (and she wasn’t) she would recognize that the crisis today is Atlas Shrugged come to life but that the cause of it was exactly opposite of what she expected and claimed.

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By whyzowl1, June 21, 2009 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

Inherit, do you remember our exchange about why American cars were no good and we wondered why.  I now think that it is because there is more money in marketing than in manufacturing, so that is what car makers focus on.  But in less neoliberal economies, such as Japan, or Europe, there appears to be more emphasis on quality of production.  But I don’t know why that would be.  It clearly wasn’t the case in the Soviet Union.  But if it were true, that would be a reason why the marketing of US policies are much better than the policies themselves.
**********
Please allow me to butt in with a thought here.

I read an article recently—lord knows where exactly—that pointed out a subtle distinction: one can be in the car business in order to make money, or one can make cars in order to make money. The former’s management places too much emphasis on the bottom line and therefore will do whatever makes the most money, while the latter’s focus is on refining the production of cars that people want and that give them good value for their marks or yen or dollars.

It isn’t marketing, but finance that really rakes in the big bucks. In other words, when GMAC started making a greater profit than GM itself back in the 80’s, in a sense, at that moment, GM’s fate was sealed. In fact, the instant its profits eclipsed those of GM, GMAC started peddling mortgages. The rest is history.

Marketing can put lipstick on the pig, but you’re still going to have a hard time getting people to kiss it. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to sell bad ideas than bad cars.

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By P. T., June 20, 2009 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

Iran—Is Mousavi another CIA stooge?  For Paul Craig Roberts article on the protests, click on http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts06192009.html

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By Folktruther, June 20, 2009 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

Truth has always been the first victim of war, Virginia, but then the war is over, people realized they were lied to, but now are at peace and assume things are different.

But the War on Terroism is an endless War.  It is to be fought for generations.  So the deceit is destroying the trust of the American people in the American power structure. This is a crazy policy.  They have brought the military in to control the population, but you can do anthing with bayonets but sit on them.  By this policy of outrageous lies, the US power structure is destoying its own crediblity.  And therefore its own power.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 20, 2009 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Virginia777, June 20 at 9:58 pm #

look who returned to the sandbox,

call his Nanny, he’s throwing sand.
*****************************

Stop your tantrum, Ginny. FT at least presented a DEBATABLE argument, even if it was full of crap.  He presented points, facts, and conclusions.

So there was something to debate and discuss, not just a pissing contest to say who is the bigger poopy-head.

Sorry FT—I have to give you credit for bringing the thread BACK to what it’s all about.  I might think your argument is a crock of shit, but at least you acted as the adult to get back on topic.

Oh…and I still think it’s a crock of shit…:)

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By Virginia777, June 20, 2009 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

“the US is much better at perception management than implementing policy”

you got that right, Folktruther! the US has become a propaganda machine, self-funded via our own State Department

foisting Untruth down our throats on an hourly basis.

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By Folktruther, June 20, 2009 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

Since I’m wrong, Inherit, and I’m merely conveying Paul Craig Roberts argument, you’ll find him wrong too, and, with that fine New Jersey logic, find him as anti-Semetic as myself and Ed Harges. Therefore Congress’s contribuitng four hundred million dollars for regime change didn’t really occur, Bush didn’t pursue regime change, and therefore Obama COULDN’T have continued it.  QED

You’ll also want to deny Seymour Hirsh’s findings as well, who some people consider America’s finest investigative jounalist, as I do, who detailed US supporting terrorist organizations in Iran, the Kurd M. E. K, and the Baluchi Junullah.  Just another anti-Semite, right, Inherit?  Hirsch actually digs for facts, not posessing your fine intuition for knowing what is true or not true without looking at them.

But it occurs to me, on investigating this Big Lie of the US media, that the US is much better at perception management than implementing policy.  What the US power structure is really good at is marketing the truth. Or untruth.  That is why its untruths in the Marketplace of Ideas are so credible to a clueless and deluded population.  Particularly in Jew Nersey.  Sorry, another anti-Semtic slip, I meant… well, you know what I meant.

Inherit, do you remember our exchange about why American cars were no good and we wondered why.  I now think that it is because there is more money in marketing than in manufacturing, so that is what car makers focus on.  But in less neoliberal economies, such as Japan, or Europe, there appears to be more emphasis on quality of production.  But I don’t know why that would be.  It clearly wasn’t the case in the Soviet Union.  But if it were true, that would be a reason why the marketing of US policies are much better than the policies themselves.

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By Virginia777, June 20, 2009 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

look who returned to the sandbox,

call his Nanny, he’s throwing sand.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 20, 2009 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

Interesting post, FT.

Only one problem: the only uncontested assertion you made was that the CIA helped install the Shah in 1953.  Everything after that, that you claim are “facts”  (like the election being honest) is so clearly more of your fantasy bullshit it’s laughable.

You cannot assume because Truman and Ike’s CIA installed the Shah in 1953 (that’s 59 years ago—I know arithmetic is tough for you) means that Obama is interfering in Iran today.

Every SHRED of so-called evidence you have is, at best, highly dubious, but more likely just flat-out wrong.  The Ayatollah is covering his ass by pushing for armed and violent suppression of the protests.

It’s as obvious as getting wet if you stand naked in the rain.  (please do it unobserved, thanks)

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By Purple Girl, June 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps John McCain doesn’t realize (or remember)that those protesting (and Dying) in the Streets of Iran Now are the Same people he so joyfully sung about ih his “Bomb bomb bomb Iran” last year.
Now this SOB has the Audacity to stand in the Senate Well a bemoan the practicality of President Obama’s handling of the situation.
When is someone going to cart that senile old POS off to an alzheimers Unit??
Sit down and Shut Up, Songbird!!!
As for the other Repugnants who tried to paint All Iranians as terrorists, Jihadists and recruiter for Insurgency into Iraq,Do they think that we have forgotten their previous efforts at propaganda. Their disingenous attitude towards the protesters is as believeable as Rush’s concern for those ‘Black teenages’ who tried to highjack a cargo ship.
The Repugs are like rabid Pavlov dogs- they smell a potential for civil war and all they can think is Oil and War Profits. Vile, disgusting excuses for Human flesh.
This possible revolution will be at least a choice made by the Iranian People- and will be far more successful for it. Had we listen to the Warmonger Cheney, the Brain Damaged McCain or the Sociopathic Hagee we would have been waging a Third quagmire war. The Repugs were Wrong then and are Wrong Now!

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By Folktruther, June 20, 2009 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

Paul Craig Roberts, in his latest piece on Counterpunch and international clearinghouse, argues persuasively that the Iran uprising was a ‘color’ revolution, planned two years ago and funded by Congress with four hundred million dollars.

Moussavi announced a few hours before the close of the election that he had won, a standard CIA ploy for deligimating any contrary result.  this caused the Irani officials to announce the contrary before the polls had closed. According to neocon Kenneth Timmerman, head of Fountation for Democracy, Mossavi groups were funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, which funded the other color revolutions.

The idea, I guess, is to create chaos and then suuport a coup with the “Reformists” in Tehran, the peasant and working class uspport scattered all over Iran.  the same approach that put the Shah in power.

they therefore must have some military backing in the various military groups.  It certainly doesn’t seem very well thought out, which is perhaps why the US Iran negotiater Dennis was canned. But then Rumsfield, incredibly, had no plans for occupying Iraq once it was invaded; this may just be one of the characteristics of US planning.

But carrying out a previous plan would explain why a landslide election would be called a “stolen election” in the US media.

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By CS, June 20, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The analysis of the current West/Islam situation will never make sense until everyone becomes more familiar with the history at the back of it.  Namely, the conflict did not begin with the Crusades.  The First Crusade was called in response to the Byzantine need for assistance in repelling the Turkish invasion that first got dangerous at Mantzikert.  The Franks responded so willingly because of the Islamic invasions of Gaul, repelled by Charles Martel and immortalized in the foundations of French literature, the chansons de geste, along with actions by Charlemagne against the Islamic occupation of Spain.  Urban II might have had more incentive to act because of the Islamic attack on Rome in 846.  Coastal raids occurred throughout the period between Islam’s early, rapid expansion into formerly Christian/Jewish/Pagan territory and the calling of the first crusade.  In fact, the coastal raids continued for centuries after that, up to and including the raids of the Barbary pirates on American shipping in the 1700s, prompting President Jefferson’s dispatching US forces to go fight in Tripoli.  Hence the song of the Marines.

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By P. T., June 20, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Anti-imperialism in the Middle East has manifested itself in various ways down the years—pan-Arabism, Marxism, Islamism—as one thing and another has not been an effective counter.

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By Folktruther, June 20, 2009 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

Perceptive comment on the US, Ed.  You remember that Williansm Jennings Bryan, the populist Dem presidential candidate, was a religious loony who ended his days opposing evolution.  Now the religious loonies of the Gops are countered by the Zionist loonies of the Dems.  And Gop Faith is countered by Dem Hope.

But the Dems gradually abandoned their union support, which the neoliberals destroyed by globalization,  and turned to the professional-managerial class of the suburbs.  Who, like the “Reformists” of Iran, and liberal on cultural values and tightasses on eocnomic issues.  So both Dem and Gop leaders and truthers now are against taxing the rich and professionals, and differ only on cultural values.

Like Inherit.  A major intellectual influence for him, and for all of New Jersey for all I know, was Ayn Rand, who believed all taxes were so coercive that they should be voluntary. She may well be big among the “reformists” of Iran.

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By Ed Harges, June 20, 2009 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

FT writes:

“Also, the professional class appear to be more generally liberal on social questions, notably women’s liberation, than the working class, while more oppressive on economic questions.”

Yeah; you know, it occurs to me that Iran’s political divide resembles that in the US before the Republican party realigned itself by embracing white Southerners. It used to be that the GOP was the party of rich northerners who were conservative on economics, but liberal on social issues. The GOP was more liberal than the Democratic party on black civil rights and women’s rights. Remember that it was two Republicans senators who first introduced the Equal Rights Amendment in Congress in the 1920s.

Before Nixon’s “southern strategy” put the south in the GOP column, socially conservative and religious Southern whites were typically Democrats, especially if they were poor.

This is what we see in Iran: Ahmadinejad appeals to poor but socially conservative people, with his anti-feminism and economic populism, whereas the wealthy urban elite has no sympathy for the poor, but wants (affluent) women to be free to wear makeup, show some leg, wear lots of bling, and go out dancing in discos - it’s a sort of consumerist feminism.

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By truedigger3, June 20, 2009 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

By Folktruther, June 20 at 1:20 pm #

Folktruther,

Very good post. Thank you.

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By P. T., June 20, 2009 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

Islam versus the West is not a useful way to view the confrontation.  The clash is better understood as U.S. imperialism versus assorted popular forces in an oil-rich part of the world.

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By Folktruther, June 20, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

It is becoming apparent that as Obama continues Bushite policies on the rhetoric of Change You Can Believe in that Obama Big Lies are going to substitute for the Bushite Big Lies of the past.  Only they may be a little Bigger.

When the Bushites pushed the Weapons of Mass Destruction to start the Iraqi war, the NYTimes had Judith Miller and others on their front page do the heavy lifting.  But since weapons are developed secretly, the Bushite untruth could only be pinned down by the obvious discrepancies and implausabilities in the Bushite narrative.

With Obama, the untruth is in plain sight, obfucscated by American media.  There recently was an election in Iran, which traditionally has honest vote counting according to foreign observers, where he won a landslide vote, as he did in the 2005 election, predicted by a Rockafeller funded poll.

The US media, including the Progessive media, with no relevant evidence whatever, immediately branded it a “stolen election”, Ahmadinejad a “dictator” and demanded it be canceled.  The editor of the NYTimes himself, Bill Keler, endorsed this view, which was trumpeted by the Zionists and other militarists.  An amazing performance, even for the US truth system.  Apparently reality has no bearing at all on American media truth, it’s simply a question of what you can get people to believe; the central issue is not truth by crediblity.

In the 1953 overthrow of the Iranian premier to install the Shah, political and military figures were bought and demonstrators paid.  This was proabably done this time as well, with money openly funded by Congress, four hundred million dollars.  This funded terrorists groups as well who have been blowing up mosques, killing scores of people, the most recent one aimed at the Irani maximum leader Kamainei.  This Green revolution in Iran appears another of the US color revolutions.

The “Reformists” are the Educated classes who want to dismantle the government owned corporations and cooperatives of Iran, notably the oil companies, and privitize them, as was done in Iraq.  The government has increased funding to the poor peasants and working class, including giving out food like potatoes to the hungry.  One of the student chants was “NO MORE POTATO GOVERNMENT” and Mousavi has repeatedly called for the abolition of and “alms” government.

He was backed by the billionaire Rafanjavi family, widely seen as corrupt in Iran.  But since the university students and Educated are localized largely in Tehran, they can demonstrate more effectively than can the more scattered general population.  Also, the professional class appear to be more generally liberal on social questions, notably women’s liberation, than the working class, while more oppressive on economic questions.  Like the professionals of the American Democratic party.

The Obama Big Lies are more glaring than the Bushite Big Lies because the US is getting more oppressive historically as the US power structure installs an neoliberal police state.  Neoliberal fascism differs from mobilizing fascism by demoblizing the population, keeping them off the streets.  But the Big Lies are conveyed more effeciently in the Marketplace of Ideas, controlled and owned by the Educated classes.  Who now support Obama and his Big Lies.

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By Ed Harges, June 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment

By JL Bryan, June 19 at 11:13 pm:

Well, I wondered, so I googled it, which do. It’s about what you’d imagine: you rub the person down with melted chocolate, and they feel really pampered, I guess.

I scrolled down and found the post below complaining about the chocolate massages. I don’t know it’s true that US taxpayers are paying for Israelis to get chocolate massages, but I do know this:

We don’t have a national, single-payer health care system in the US, because we’re told we can’t afford it and that it’s against our anti-socialist principles; but we give massively expensive aid to Israel, a country so wealthy that it can afford a national, single-payer health care system. They must laugh their guts out when they think of how stupidly we cater to them.

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By JL Bryan, June 19, 2009 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

I think we all know what the real question is here.

What the heck is a chocolate massage??

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By Ed Harges, June 19, 2009 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment

Re:By Inherit The Wind, June 19 at 11:01 pm:

We will miss your furious vacuity.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 19, 2009 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

This thread just went stupid—from both sides.
I don’t want to play in this sandbox now.
You ALL sound like jerks.

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By Ed Harges, June 19, 2009 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

Re:By Shingo, June 19 at 10:42 pm:

No; I’m afraid I’ve known too many actual, verified Zionists to have any doubt that nefesh is the real thing.

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

Ed Harges,

Professionalism usually implies some degree of competence.  I wonder if posters like Nefesh aren’t really closet anti Semites posing an Zionist wingnuts in an effor to make Israel and Jews look bad.

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By Ed Harges, June 19, 2009 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Shingo, June 19 at 10:14 pm:

Oh, I didn’t say he argues well; I said he seems like a professional. It’s kind of like making love. If you observe to your partner that he or she seemed to do it like a professional, it’s not necessarily a compliment.

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By P. T., June 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

The clash between the U.S. and the Middle East is about American imperialism: a struggle over U.S. meddling in the region.

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

Ed Harges,

“Oh yes, nefesh is clearly a professional. I’m sure when he’s not posting here, he’s firing off fake Iranian “twitters”.”

Nefesh a professinal?  Please, if he’s the best they got, then they’re is deep shit.  He’s one of the weakest pro Israeli debaters I have ever come across and his knowledge is pretty weak.

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By Ed Harges, June 19, 2009 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

re: By truedigger3, June 19 at 9:50 pm:

Oh yes, nefesh is clearly a professional. I’m sure when he’s not posting here, he’s firing off fake Iranian “twitters”.

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By truedigger3, June 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

There are many threads in TD discussing many subjects
without a single word from that “nefesh”. Only and
only when Israel is mentioned, we find that “nefesh”
pops up from nowhere loaded with tons of material
of lies, obfuscation and pure blatant bullshitting.
It is obvious that “nefesh” is a hired gun for justifying and sugar coating the Israeli injustices and atrocities against the Palestinian people.
And I tell to “nefesh”, no matter how hard you try, your lies and bullshitting is failing miserably.
No matter how much sugar and cream you put on a piece of shit it is still a piece of shit.

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By Ed Harges, June 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Shingo, June 19 at 9:35 pm:

But Shingo, Nefesh has explained that for you to care in particular about these things marks you as unhealthily “fixated.”

It doesn’t even matter whether you’re right on this or that point of evidence. See, if you provide a screenful of evidence, the fact that you even went to the trouble proves that you are “fixated” — which of course means “anti-Semitic”.

Realizing this, you’re supposed to shut up. Any questions?

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

nefesh,

Here are some facts to eduate you about the Deir Yassin massacre and those who carried it out.

“Yes, there were cumulatively much worse than that, spanning the entire Arab world, and I’m not including the infamous mass murder of sixty-seven Jewish residents on 23 and 24 August 1929 in Hebron.”

Worse that Deir Yassin?  Really?

Let’s see what people had to say about Deir Yassin.

Sir John Troutbeck, head of the British Middle East Office in Cairo and later British Ambassador to Iraq, on 02 June 1948. He had previously written on 18 May 1948 “It is difficult to see that Zionist policy is anything else than unashamed agression carried out by methods of deceit and brutality not unworthy of Hitler.”

“We eliminated every Arab that came our way.”
–Ben Zion Cohen, an Irgun commander

“I saw the horrors that the fighters had created. I saw bodies of women and children, who were murdered in their houses in cold blood by gunfire, with no signs of battle and not as the result of blowing up the houses. I have seen a great deal of war, but I never saw a sight like Deir Yassin.”
–Eliahu Arbel, Operations Officer in the Jewish Haganah

“The attackers chose to kill anybody they found alive as though every living thing in the village was the enemy and they could only think ‘kill them all.’…It was a lovely spring day, the almond trees were in bloom, the flowers were out and everywhere there was the stench of the dead, the thick smell of blood, and the terrible odor of the corpses burning in the quarry.”
–Yeshurun Shiff, assistant to David Shaltiel, commander of Jewish Haganah forces in Jerusalem

“… A total of more than 200 dead, men, women, and children…One was a woman who must have been eight months pregnant, hit in the stomach, with powder burns on her dress indicating she’d been shot point-blank.”
–Jacques de Reynier, Representative of the International Red Cross

“In the houses there were dead, in all about a hundred men, women and children. It was terrible. It was clear that the attackers had gone from house to house and shot the people at close range. I was a doctor in the German army for 5 years in World War I but I had not seen such a horrifying spectacle.”
–Dr. Alfred Engel, Red Cross worker

“What we saw were women, young children, and old men. What shocked us was at least two or three cases of old men dressed in women’s clothes. My conclusion was that what happened in the village so terrorized these old men that they knew being old men would not save them. They hoped that if they were seen as old women that would save them.”
–Yair Tsaban, was one of several youths tasked with burying the dead at Deir Yessin

Menachem Begin, one of the commanders overseeing the slaughter and who would one day become one of Israel’s Prime Ministers later remarked gloatingly that–
“The Arabs throughout the country were seized with limitless panic and started to flee for their lives and this mass flight soon developed into a maddened, uncontrollable stampede. The political and economic significance of this development can hardly be overestimated.”

The former Prime Ministers of Israel, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, were leaders of the Irgun and the Stern Gang respectively. Among the atrocities these groupswere responsible for was bombing the King David Hotel and massacring 250 Arab villagers in Deir Yassin.

The Stern Gang under Yitzak Rabin not only offered military support to the Nazis but they went on to assassinate Lord Moyne, Count Bernadotte, drove a truckload of explosives into a British police station in Haifa killing four and injuring 140, mined the train north of Rehovot, killing 28 soldiers and wounding 35, another train near Binyamina killing 40 civilians and wounding 60 and carried out the massacre and rapes at Deir Yassin.

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment

nefesh,

“Yes, there were cumulatively much worse than that, spanning the entire Arab world, and I’m not including the infamous mass murder of sixty-seven Jewish residents on 23 and 24 August 1929 in Hebron.”

Worse that Deir Yassin?  Really?

Let’s see what people had to say about Deir Yassin.

Sir John Troutbeck, head of the British Middle East Office in Cairo and later British Ambassador to Iraq, on 02 June 1948. He had previously written on 18 May 1948 “It is difficult to see that Zionist policy is anything else than unashamed agression carried out by methods of deceit and brutality not unworthy of Hitler.”

“We eliminated every Arab that came our way.”
–Ben Zion Cohen, an Irgun commander

“I saw the horrors that the fighters had created. I saw bodies of women and children, who were murdered in their houses in cold blood by gunfire, with no signs of battle and not as the result of blowing up the houses. I have seen a great deal of war, but I never saw a sight like Deir Yassin.”
–Eliahu Arbel, Operations Officer in the Jewish Haganah

“The attackers chose to kill anybody they found alive as though every living thing in the village was the enemy and they could only think ‘kill them all.’…It was a lovely spring day, the almond trees were in bloom, the flowers were out and everywhere there was the stench of the dead, the thick smell of blood, and the terrible odor of the corpses burning in the quarry.”
–Yeshurun Shiff, assistant to David Shaltiel, commander of Jewish Haganah forces in Jerusalem

“… A total of more than 200 dead, men, women, and children…One was a woman who must have been eight months pregnant, hit in the stomach, with powder burns on her dress indicating she’d been shot point-blank.”
–Jacques de Reynier, Representative of the International Red Cross

“In the houses there were dead, in all about a hundred men, women and children. It was terrible. It was clear that the attackers had gone from house to house and shot the people at close range. I was a doctor in the German army for 5 years in World War I but I had not seen such a horrifying spectacle.”
–Dr. Alfred Engel, Red Cross worker

“What we saw were women, young children, and old men. What shocked us was at least two or three cases of old men dressed in women’s clothes. My conclusion was that what happened in the village so terrorized these old men that they knew being old men would not save them. They hoped that if they were seen as old women that would save them.”
–Yair Tsaban, was one of several youths tasked with burying the dead at Deir Yessin

Menachem Begin, one of the commanders overseeing the slaughter and who would one day become one of Israel’s Prime Ministers later remarked gloatingly that–
“The Arabs throughout the country were seized with limitless panic and started to flee for their lives and this mass flight soon developed into a maddened, uncontrollable stampede. The political and economic significance of this development can hardly be overestimated.”

The former Prime Ministers of Israel, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, were leaders of the Irgun and the Stern Gang respectively. Among the atrocities these groupswere responsible for was bombing the King David Hotel and massacring 250 Arab villagers in Deir Yassin.

The Stern Gang under Yitzak Rabin not only offered military support to the Nazis but they went on to assassinate Lord Moyne, Count Bernadotte, drove a truckload of explosives into a British police station in Haifa killing four and injuring 140, mined the train north of Rehovot, killing 28 soldiers and wounding 35, another train near Binyamina killing 40 civilians and wounding 60 and carried out the massacre and rapes at Deir Yassin.

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By Ed Harges, June 19, 2009 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

Re: By nefesh, June 19 at 9:20 pm:

I’m sorry. You don’t seem very comprehending. I will put it in plainer language.

The very particular and heavy support given by the US government to the state of Israel is what gives Americans like Shingo a right to care so much in particular about Israel’s “sins”. That’s what explains the “fixation”. It’s not some mystery of mental pathology.

As soon as the US government starts to show anything remotely approaching this kind of favoritism toward some foreign nation other than Israel, I will be ready to “fixate” just as heavily on whether that other nation deserves such favoritism.

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

nefesh,

Your romanticism of the so called “Jewish people” is charming and all, and you are entitled to it, but it’s pure fantasy.  Judaism is a religion and one can become a Jew by converting to Judaism, hence there is no such thing as a Jewish People.

I identify with many people I meet.  None can be identified with belonging to any race, culture, ethnic group or religion.

Your nation is wherever you happen to be living.  Your language is the one you happen to be using. Self determination is a human right that should be available to all, not any particular group. 

No Jews have no more right to self determination than do Catholics, or Eskimos, however, Jews and Eskimos certainly have the right to within the context of their communities. Of course, while you insist on the world recognizing Israel’s right to self determination (which they are entitled to as a state) Israel also denies the Palestinians their right to self determination.

Jewish tradition has never been about national identity, because the greatest part of it it’s existence took place without a national component.  The land is incidental, after all, other sites in Africa and outback Australia were also considered for the state of Israel, so let’s drop the BS about Palestine belonging to the Jews.

My mindset is the last thing you need worry about, because my door is open to anyone who needs safety and protection from persecution, you included. 

Israel’s Jewish majority was achieved by means of ethnic closings and is maintained by racist and apartheid domestic and immigration policies.  Iran happens to have the second largest Jewish community, and much to Israel’s embarrassment, the community has refused bribes from Israel to relocate to Israel. Apparently their lives in Iran are just fine.

The Jews did not return to Israel in 19th and early 20th century.  They were Europeans and Russians, most of whom converted to Judaism during the formative period, and they stole land that did not belong to them as they arrived.

One need not bash Israel to chip away at others’ perception of Israel.  Perception of Israel has been falling as is now falling in the US, even among Jews and Evangelicals.  It was inevitable that as the true nature of Israel’s fascist and apartheid society became more evident, it’s popularity would suffer. 

I have no problem with Israel per se. They could worship the devil for all I care, so long as it’s existence does not come at the expense of others, and the fact that it has is beyond dispute.

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By nefesh, June 19, 2009 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Ed Harges, June 19 at 9:16 pm #

Nefesh writes, speaking to Shingo:

  “You come across as monomaniacal in what appears to be a fixation on Israel and her alleged sins.”

This is the favorite trick of Zionists trying to silence Americans who complain about Israel. The US government’s monomaniacal fixation on supporting Israel, enforced by Israel’s monomaniacally fixated “American” devotees, making Israel’s enemies our enemies and expending vast blood and treasure on behalf of the Holy State - all of this is forgotten. Any particular outrage or disgust by Americans about what Israel has been doing is labeled an unhealthy, inexplicable “fixation.”

Why, indeed, would any healthy-minded American care so much about this issue, unless of course the person wishes to express rapturous praise and tender affection for the Holy State - that fixation is the very emblem of good mental health!

LOL!!! There’s your fixation for you, your own words right in front of you.  smile

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By nefesh, June 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

By Shingo, June 19 at 9:01 pm #

ardee,

”...C’mon, ITW, I know you can do much better than this. Those Jews who chose to relocate to the new state of Israel did so unforced in large part, though there was indeed pressure, and increasingly so as the Israelis forced out 700, 000 Palestinian Arabs from the new homeland.”

Well put ardee.  It’s not like there was a Deir Yassin massacre to kick the party off now is there?

Yes, there were cumulatively much worse than that, spanning the entire Arab world, and I’m not including the infamous mass murder of sixty-seven Jewish residents on 23 and 24 August 1929 in Hebron.

http://www.meforum.org/263/why-jews-fled-the-arab-countries

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By Ed Harges, June 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

Nefesh writes, speaking to Shingo:

“You come across as monomaniacal in what appears to be a fixation on Israel and her alleged sins.”

This is the favorite trick of Zionists trying to silence Americans who complain about Israel. The US government’s monomaniacal fixation on supporting Israel, enforced by Israel’s monomaniacally fixated “American” devotees, making Israel’s enemies our enemies and expending vast blood and treasure on behalf of the Holy State - all of this is forgotten. Any particular outrage or disgust by Americans about what Israel has been doing is labeled an unhealthy, inexplicable “fixation.”

Why, indeed, would any healthy-minded American care so much about this issue, unless of course the person wishes to express rapturous praise and tender affection for the Holy State - that fixation is the very emblem of good mental health!

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By nefesh, June 19, 2009 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

PART TWO

Shingo, June 19 at 8:20 pm #

“that is healthy in an open society like Israel, and freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion exists for all citizens, regardless of faith”

Israeli society is anything but healthy. It is moving from secular towards right wing nationalism and religious fundamentalism. cite your sources - and you are editorializing, btw  The rate of emigration from Israel has been outpacing immigration since 2007.

“if you want to see what a real theocracy looks like, observe the reactionary Islamist regime in Iran”

Israel is headed very clearly in that direction. again, you are editorializing - and how much time have you spent in Israel getting to the source of your information? you are blowing it out your ass…not only that, you make such a dire prediction as if it’s a good thing - don’t you really wish it was, in fact, the truth? I say that because there is nothing I have ever seen you post with a glimmer of constructive thought about the welfare for the nation of Israel as a sovereign homeland of the Jews.  As ITW has described it, Israel risks becoming a Jewish Taliban. just because ITW said it don’t make it so - that’s rather shrill editorializing on his part as well, even though I don’t believe he shares your burning obsession to see Israel delegitimized to the point of collapse - far from it in fact

“ or the terrorist thug rulers of Gaza”

Israel was founded on terrorism, by terrorists.  Israel elected 2 terrorist leaders to the office of PM.  Lieberman used to belong to a terrorist gang himself, so I guess that makes Israel as theocracy. faulty logic, as well as evading the issue, and STILL you ignore the nature of Hamas and the Iranian theocratic regime in order to free up your flapping gums to bash Israel…

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

“...C’mon, ITW, I know you can do much better than this. Those Jews who chose to relocate to the new state of Israel did so unforced in large part, though there was indeed pressure, and increasingly so as the Israelis forced out 700, 000 Palestinian Arabs from the new homeland.”

Well put ardee.  It’s not like there was a Deir Yassin massacre to kick the party off now is there?

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By nefesh, June 19, 2009 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

PART ONE

Shingo, June 19 at 8:20 pm #

nefesh,

“you know nothing about Israel if you believe it is a theocracy..it is a secular democracy whose majority population are Jews”

There is no such thing as a secular Jewish democracy. It’s a contradiction in terms. no, it isn’t…I, for example, am a Jew. But I am agnostic at best, and not observant. In other words, I am not religious, but I identify with my people (past, present, and future, my nation, my heritage, my homeland, my culture as a subset of a larger Jewish culture, my language - modern Hebrew and its antecedents - Ladino, Yiddish, Aramaic, Archaic (biblical) Hebrew, and so much more. See, self-determination means exactly that - the right of a people to determine for themselves how they see and constitute themselves. That you still deny the Jews both the right to self-determination, by definition, and the result of that self-determination, is your problem, and we really don’t care. We know the Jewish tradition, of which national identity is a part of, is value-added relative to most others - yes, we share a common and uniting religious component of our culture; it is but one part of what makes us a nation - our land, our language, our history and traditions, and yes, our faith - it makes us stronger and has enabled us to survive persecution from people with mindsets like yours for millenia .

Israel’s Jewish majority is also imposed and not a consequence of natural population growth or immigration. Imposed? you are being incoherent again - Israel’s Jews continue to procreate - that means natural population growth, and also have benefited from all sorts of immigration - the Falash Mura from Ethiopia, the Russian Jews when the Soviets finally stopped imprisoning them, of course the millions of Jews whose heritage is from now-defunct Jewish communities all across the Middle East, including Iran. Israel is a sovereign nation - nothing related to immigration is imposed - it is a function of immigration laws enacted by Israel’s democratically-elected governments. If by imposed you are meaning the Arabs who didn’t like the return of Jews in the 19th and early 20th century - too fucking bad already - it’s history

Also, Israel violates every tenet of democracy.  Human rights violations, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and suppression of the press are all an anathema to democracy. when you get on your rhetorical Israel-bashing soapbox, the temptation is great to walk away and leave you to accuse and accuse some more. After all, bashing Israel as a way of trying to chip away at others’ perception of Israel as the legitimate independent homeland of the Jews is your obvious intent. It’s nothing new and everything you say and the way you say it is actually very trite. You come across as monomaniacal in what appears to be a fixation on Israel and her alleged sins. You need to watch that - people do pick up on it.

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By Ed Harges, June 19, 2009 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Shingo, June 19 at 8:20 pm #
nefesh,

Shingo writes: “There is no such thing as a secular Jewish democracy. It’s a contradiction in terms.”

Ah, sweet reason.

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

nefesh,

“you know nothing about Israel if you believe it is a theocracy..it is a secular democracy whose majority population are Jews”

There is no such thing as a secular Jewish democracy. It’s a contradiction in terms.

Israel’s Jewish majority is also imposed and not a consequence of natural population growth or immigration.

Also, Israel violates every tenet of democracy.  Human rights violations, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and suppression of the press are all an anathema to democracy.

“that is healthy in an open society like Israel, and freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion exists for all citizens, regardless of faith”

Israeli society is anything but healthy. It is moving from secular towards right wing nationalism and religious fundamentalism.  The rate of emigration from Israel has been outpacing immigration since 2007.

“if you want to see what a real theocracy looks like, observe the reactionary Islamist regime in Iran”

Israel is headed very clearly in that direction.  As ITW has described it, Israel risks becoming a Jewish Taliban.

“ or the terrorist thug rulers of Gaza”

Israel was founded on terrorism, by terrorists.  Israel elected 2 terrorist leaders to the office of PM.  Lieberman used to belong to a terrorist gang himself, so I guess that makes Israel as theocracy.

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By nefesh, June 19, 2009 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind, June 19 at 5:38 pm #

Sure it was unforced, RD.  They could voluntarily leave or have everything seized and be expelled.

I knew people who were given that free choice to leave from their homeland of Tunisia for being Jews…

Close friends of my family since I was a child are Iraqi-born Israelis who have an amazing story.  He and she both came from Baghdad but never knew each other while there. In 1948 the Iraqi authorities seized all their families’ property and gave them a week to leave the country. He left by bus and train through Jordan and somehow made it into Israel; she fled on foot and made an incredible journey to the north, through Kurdistan and into Turkey, and from there to Cyprus, and then to Israel. They met at an absorption center upon their arrival. Eventually they settled in Haifa where he became a professor of electrical engineering at the Technion. Now he holds patents in electro-optical devices used in medical imaging devices. Baghdad used to have a sizable Jewish population, and now they are all gone. Iraq’s loss - bright, learned achievers sacrificed in the name of bigotry. Iraq’s loss, Israel’s gain.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

Sure it was unforced, RD.  They could voluntarily leave or have everything seized and be expelled. 

I knew people who were given that free choice to leave from their homeland of Tunisia for being Jews…

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By truedigger3, June 19, 2009 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

The so called “The war between civiliations” is nothing but fabricated bullshitting.
Something has to be found to replace the cold war and keep the atmosphere of “the enemy out there”.
I don"t see any REAL problem with the Arab/Moslem
world. The only “problem” is that some of them are
very rich in OIL and GAS and someone wants an excuse to attack those “oily and gasy enemies”.!!

Fadel Abdallah,
Attacking the jews is not right or fair.
Besides, by doing so, you are giving zionism an appeal and justification and harming your own cause.
There are crooks in every race, religion and ethnicity.

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By nefesh, June 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

By bogi666, June 19 at 4:25 pm #

nefesh, you’re confused. 1st you say you’ve never read the American Constitution quote me - i don’t believe I ever said that and almost immediately you proceed to tell America what our constitution says. Then you go into your Zionist Zealot rant projecting your biases onto me. no need, your biases come through loud and clear on their own  For those of you that want your tax money to pay for chocolate massages LOL again with the chocolate massages? LOL for Israeli’s pay for it yourself and stop enabling American tax money pay for Israeli’s Chocolate or any other massages. I rang your chimes nefesh and you made a fool of yourself with your mumbling insane ranting which mean I’m fulfilling my purpose said bogi666 as he mumbled an insane rant.Of course you morph being Jewish, Zionist, and Israeli as all being the same, a Holy Trinity if you will. This is just a tactic as all three are or may be independent of each other. As for the Israeli’s if they can dupe the Americans into enabling them to have socialized medicine which includes massages, more power to them. It America’s job to manage itself and not take on the burden of others. This is co-dependency which is institutionalized in America by the troika of religiosity, business and government which gives it legitimacy. well aren’t you the political savant

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By bogi666, June 19, 2009 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

nefesh, you’re confused. 1st you say you’ve never read the American Constitution and almost immediately you proceed to tell America what our constitution says. Then you go into your Zionist Zealot rant projecting your biases onto me. For those of you that want your tax money to pay for chocolate massages for Israeli’s pay for it yourself and stop enabling American tax money pay for Israeli’s Chocolate or any other massages. I rang your chimes nefesh and you made a fool of yourself with your mumbling insane ranting which mean I’m fulfilling my purpose.Of course you morph being Jewish, Zionist, and Israeli as all being the same, a Holy Trinity if you will. This is just a tactic as all three are or may be independent of each other. As for the Israeli’s if they can dupe the Americans into enabling them to have socialized medicine which includes massages, more power to them. It America’s job to manage itself and not take on the burden of others. This is co-dependency which is institutionalized in America by the troika of religiosity, business and government which gives it legitimacy.

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By ardee, June 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

And Where is your outrage for the 900,000 Jews living in Arab nations who were similarly dispossessed of THEIR land, property and nations when THEY were forced out after 1948?  Aren’t THEY equally “entitled” as the Palestinians?

...C’mon, ITW, I know you can do much better than this. Those Jews who chose to relocate to the new state of Israel did so unforced in large part, though there was indeed pressure, and increasingly so as the Israelis forced out 700, 000 Palestinian Arabs from the new homeland.

Noone is disputing the history of this planet with regard to injustices, but the instances you cite in no way excuse the actions of Israel.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, June 19 at 11:13 am #

that’s a very good argument, Inherit, about the Right of Return, for someone who lives in New Jersey.
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Sometimes brilliance comes out of desperation—some people will do or invent ANYTHING to get out of New Jersey!

Now, on to the next thing:
What the hell is a “chocolate massage”? And why would you want one?

I can think of 3 completely different things it could be, but only one actually involves chocolate…

Fadel, crooks come in all flavors.  Ken Lay of Enron was as mayonaise-on-white-bread as he could be and he not only stole billions, he stole his own employees’ retirement leaving them destitute.  Yeah, I’m ashamed of Madoff being a Jew, and I’m ashamed of Abramoff being a Jew.

But I’m ashamed of Paulsen, being an American, who bled far more money out of the system than Madoff, as Treasury Secretary used his power to sink a rival (Lehman Bros) and benefit his past and future firm: Goldman, Sachs.

Bank of America is run by good-ole-boys from North Carolina, as is Wachovia.

Crooks come in all flavors….

Asking the question about Arab/Moslem spies versus Jewish/Israeli spies is probably NOT the question you want to ask, since if you substitute “violent attack” for “spying” the reverse comes up….

Plus there have been BOTH terrorist acts AND spying but typical White mainstream Americans, including two in the last several weeks.

Crooks come in all flavors….

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 19, 2009 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

As a follow up to my previous post, I would also ask the following question: “How many Arabs-Muslims were indicted for spying against America on behalf of an Arab or Muslim country?” The answer again is none!

On the other hand, “how many Jewish-Zionists were indicted for spying on America on behalf of Israel?” I know at least of four, but I will leave the definite number and names to be contributed by other posters!

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 19, 2009 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Since the issue of the extravagant and unconditional financial American tax-payers’ money given to holy Israel has been brought up, I would like to inject an economic dimension to the discussion about the contributions of Zionist/Jews to the economic ruin of America. To put this in comparative perspective, let me ask first about how many Arabs/ Muslims (from an estimated of 1.3-5 billion population) were recently indicted with financial crimes against America?! The answer is, of course, none.

On the other hand, how many Zionists/Jews (from among a world population of about 15 millions) were indicted recently? Everyone now knows about the financial crimes of at least two infamous names, namely- Bernard Madoff and most recently another guy by the name of Israel (forgot his full name!)who defrauded American investors of billions of dollars, including many charitable organizations.

Does this say anything about the great contributions of the Zionists to human civilization?! The kind of contributions the “Vomitor of Falsehoods”- being the nickname I bestow on “nefesh”- bragged about in some of his stinky bullshit on this thread!

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By nefesh, June 19, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

bogi666, June 19 at 1:07 pm

nefresh, boy did I strike a cord with you about unconstitutional aid to Israel, so I’m obviously doing something right. no, you didn’t strike a chord [spelled with an H] - I actually never even looked at your comment…and no, foreign aid to Israel is not unconstitutional at all..the US constitution does not apply to Israel or any other sovereign nation insofar as how foreign aid is spent (and FYI most US aid to Israel is in the form of military buy-backs wherein almost all of it is spent here in the US), and finally, you know nothing about Israel if you believe it is a theocracy..it is a secular democracy whose majority population are Jews; there is free and open debate about the role of religion in public life, absolutely - that is healthy in an open society like Israel, and freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion exists for all citizens, regardless of faith…but if it validates your need to focus the wrath of your misplaced righteous indignation on Israel, knock yourself out…if you want to see what a real theocracy looks like, observe the reactionary Islamist regime in Iran, or the terrorist thug rulers of Gaza - meanwhile, I have a chocolate massage appointment I need to get to…..  FYI, I didn’t comment to prohibit relations with the Zionists of Israel, I’m opposed aid to Israel because it enables Israeli’s to have GOVERNMENT PAID FOR CHOCOLATE MASSAGES because of the aid provided by the USA. At the very same time those Senators who vote for American taxpayers enabling Israel to provide socialized medicine including CHOCOLATE MASSAGES, these Senators vote against providing Health care to American taxpayers with the GOP telling Americans to eat shit and die, no health care is better than a government option, except in the case of Israel which can use USA aid for chocolate massages, courtesy of the American taxpayers.

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By bogi666, June 19, 2009 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

nefresh, boy did I strike a cord with you about unconstitutional aid to Israel, so I’m obviously doing something right. FYI, I didn’t comment to prohibit relations with the Zionists of Israel, I’m opposed aid to Israel because it enables Israeli’s to have GOVERNMENT PAID FOR CHOCOLATE MASSAGES because of the aid provided by the USA. At the very same time those Senators who vote for American taxpayers enabling Israel to provide socialized medicine including CHOCOLATE MASSAGES, these Senators vote against providing Health care to American taxpayers with the GOP telling Americans to eat shit and die, no health care is better than a government option, except in the case of Israel which can use USA aid for chocolate massages, courtesy of the American taxpayers.

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By nefesh, June 19, 2009 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, June 19 at 11:13 am wrote:

It just shows that people can occasionally exhibit honesty and good sense even though their mind has been deranged by the Amerian and Zionist truth consensus.

ITW, looks like you’ve received a back-handed compliment. I think he’s saying that even a deranged Zionist can be honest. Are pigs flying somewhere?

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By Folktruther, June 19, 2009 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

that’s a very good argument, Inherit, about the Right of Return, for someone who lives in New Jersey.
I don’t know to what extent it is acceptable- we would have to examine rebuttals- but it is a reasoned attempt to solve a historically difficult problem.  I’m proud of you.  It just shows that people can occasionally exhibit honesty and good sense even though their mind has been deranged by the Amerian and Zionist truth consensus.

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By jackpine savage, June 19, 2009 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Man, Truthdig descends into the good Jew/bad Jew routine at the drop of a hat.

Huntington (and his cohort Fukayama) were full of shit when they wrote those seminal pieces and the trouble remains because the apparatchiks in DC still believe the drivel.

History doesn’t end, and most of what we see in the world today barely qualifies as “civilization” anyhow. Besides, Huntington was just looking for a way to continue the Cold War ideology and context. He succeeded and we’ll all fail because of it.

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By Alfred di Genis, June 19, 2009 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

William Pfaff: “The Iranian people are restless, unsure of what they should want.”

The problem actually is that, like in other countries, Iranians know full well what they want: Different groups want different things. “What they SHOULD want” is rather curious, but revealing,  phrasing.

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By nefesh, June 19, 2009 at 6:22 am Link to this comment

Shingo, June 19 at 9:03 am wrote:

nefesh,

“...every nation does this and Israel has the RIGHT to determine who can and cannot be admitted and can apply for citizenship, just like every other nation.”

That Clatter You Heard . . .

. . . . was the sound of nefesh dentures hitting his monitor as he screams impotently at his computer.don’t flatter yourself

Yes it is a good argument Nefesh, because unlike your typical ideological vomit [you are starting to sound like Fadel here] about Jews having exclusive rights to the motherland, or having the right to exist, or the Palestinians never having existed etc. that is not a complete sentence, and it is incoherent

ITW treats Israel like any other country. as he should, and that is to his credit

Of course, if Israel is to be regarded as any other country, then the it should be held to account on the issue of the 90+ UN resolutions against it non-binding GA resolutions pushed through by the huge number of Muslim nations, unfairly, of course, with the typical sycophantic follow-on votes of intimidated other nations, we know, we know…, the countless violations of International law says you, countless violations of human rights again, says you - but don’t waste your vitriol on far worse violators when you can pile it on Israel - I mean, you DO spend at least as much energy trying to tear down real tyranny elsewhere, don’t you?, and illicit nuclear weapons program. nothing illicit at all - Israel is non-signatory to the NPT, and is not obligated to any provisions therein…and btw, if Israel were really a nuclear threat to its neighbors, wouldn’t the Saudi entity, with its trillions of dollars, have developed a nuclear capability to counter your fantasy threat from Israel? Look around - the Arabs only really fear their Shiite cousins from Iran in the nuclear regard

BTW nefesh, among your countless lies, the one about Arabs incessant wars of annihilation against Israel are truly pathetic.  With the exception of 1948 and 1973, Israel started all the wars it has been involved in. wrong - 1967, Nasser blockaded the Straits of Tiran - a cassus belli, and massed armor on Israel’s border (including using Gaza as a staging ground for a publicly threatened invasion of Israel)

As for the Jewish nation’s existence, co country in the world has demanded that anyone recognize it as a religious state, so if Israel is to be treated as any other country, why the special treatment.  We know it’s BS don’t we Nefesh?you know only the bullshit you create for your own consumption…if you don’t like the idea of a nation of Jews who decide what element so of their culture become reasons for official holidays, spend your time in other places…you will not be missed; in any case, most Israelis are secular Jews, and the rights of non-Jews have more protections and respect than any you will find among her 22 Arab neighbors, but go ahead and keep carping on Israel…

22 Arab countries have offered to recognize Israel (as per the 1967 borders) and Israel has rejected the offer, so being recognized obviously isn’t that important to Israel. it’s just not a credible offer for many reasons, as currently constituted…for one thing, the Saudi entity put it on the table as a take-it-or-leave-it deal, with no option for negotiation on any issue, including and especially requiring Israel to absorb millions of Arabs…well, DUH

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind,

I am not suggesting that Israel does not have the same right the US, Canada etc., but if Israel wants to be regarded in the same light, should it not play by the same rules?

Nevertheless,  “The Right of Jews To Return” is quote different from a simple immigration quota policy.  No country, certainly no democracy, gives unfitted passage to a group of people based on their religion, while blanketly denying the right of another. If you want to use the US as an example, can you imagine the US denying someone with North American Indian heritage entry to make room for an English man?

1.  I am not suggesting that the dispossession of the Jews in Arab nations was a good thing, but come on now, the Nakba has been justified on the basis that “the Arabs” attacked. 

The expulsion of the 900,000 Arab Jews did not happen overnight, and it could be argued that much has been in response to Israel’s actions.  The 1941 purge was largely driven by the Nazis in Iraq.

Yes 1948 has come and gone, but here is the rub.  Israel still insists it never intended the ethnically cleanse the Arabs in 1948, yet had that not happened, Israel would never have become a Jewish majority. The argument made today against permitting the Arabs right of return is that it would put an end to Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.

The Arabs states behaved badly yes, but if you want to compare it to a crime, you are talking about one of retribution as opposed to a pre-meditated one, or if you like a crime of passion vs a cold blooded one.

Of course Israel exists, just as the sun exists.  Why do we even have to repeat that asinine assertion? 

The Netanyahu land grabs is sadly a symptom of a much deeper problem ITW.  Israel is moving further and further to the right and losing it’s soul.  I mean consider this.  Lieberman’s party got more votes than Labor, the party that founded Israel to begin with. 
The land grabs were happening long before Netanyahu came along.

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 6:03 am Link to this comment

nefesh,

“...every nation does this and Israel has the RIGHT to determine who can and cannot be admitted and can apply for citizenship, just like every other nation.”

That Clatter You Heard . . .

. . . . was the sound of nefesh dentures hitting his monitor as he screams impotently at his computer.

Yes it is a good argument Nefesh, because unlike your typical ideological vomit about Jews having exclusive rights to the motherland, or having the right to exist, or the Palestinians never having existed etc.

ITW treats Israel like any other country.

Of course, if Israel is to be regarded as any other country, then the it should be held to account on the issue of the 90+ UN resolutions against it, the countless violations of International law, countless violations of human rights, and illicit nuclear weapons program.

BTW nefesh, among your countless lies, the one about Arabs incessant wars of annihilation against Israel are truly pathetic.  With the exception of 1948 and 1973, Israel started all the wars it has been involved in. 

As for the Jewish nation’s existence, co country in the world has demanded that anyone recognize it as a religious state, so if Israel is to be treated as any other country, why the special treatment.  We know it’s BS don’t we Nefesh?

22 Arab countries have offered to recognize Israel (as per the 1967 borders) and Israel has rejected the offer, so being recognized obviously isn’t that important to Israel.

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By nefesh, June 19, 2009 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

Shingo, June 19 at 8:40 am wrote:

the land grab in 1948 was pre mediated for a start.  Secondly, Israel is still denying it ever happened.

A less belligerent way (and more accurate) thing to say is that the foundations of the modern re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty were laid decades before 1948. Independence and statehood were inevitable. You will, of course, post a torrent of internet babble, but the Jewish Agency had been buying title to land from its legal owners including Arabs as well as Ottomans since the 19th century.  You insist on describing the development of the modern state as nothing but a ‘land grab’, and you are simply flinging smears and charged rhetoric. That is no basis for an argument.

=================================

As for the 900,000 Jews that were “dispossessed”, didn’t that take place AFTER the Nakba?

It was roughly contemporaneous. Does it matter? The salient point is that Israel absorbed all the refugees who wanted to make new lives in there. The Arabs created the world’s only “permanent refugee” status that confers from generation to generation.

=================================

Of course, your argument as to why the offspring should be denied right of return rings pretty hollow (ie. Not being born in Israel ) when Israel’s right of return is open to any Jew not born in Israel.

That’s an easy one and ITW has already given you the answer - Israel is a sovereign nation, and the majority of her citizens wish it so. If you shaped your arguments around the fact that Israel is indeed an independent and sovereign state, with all the rights pursuant, you would come across as a person to be reasoned with instead of a propagandist with a bludgeon.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 19, 2009 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

Shingo:

A couple of points:
1) I HEARTILY agree that the land grab MUST stop—I’ve said so. Period.
2) Look again at my example of adult children born outside the nation AND the grandchildren.  Now look at EVERY nation’s sovereign right to control and decide immigration. 

Why do you insist that Israel does not have the same right the US, Canada and France have? I’d LOVE to move to Tahiti and live there, but (while I can’t yet afford it) the French government will not let ME or any American live there for more than 6 months continuously without forcing me to leave. Saint Martin (the French side) has that same restriction.

The label of “The Right of Jews To Return” makes it look like it is something different than a simple immigration quota policy—something the USA has enacted for a century.

3) What does it matter that the 900,000 dispossessed Jews in Arab nations happened after the founding of Israel?  Actually, that makes it WORSE—because these innocents were dispossessed solely out of revenge for the creation of Israel.

4) Realize that I’m not arguing for a return to Germany and Poland of stolen lands.  I’m arguing that the situation and many others parallels Israel’s.  Nor is it clear to me, even as a Jew, how stealing all that German land to benefit the Soviet Union and Stalin, pays for, in any way, shape or form the 12,000,000 who died in the Holocaust (Remember: half were murdered for reasons OTHER than being Jewish—like being Catholic, Communist, Socialist, Roma (Gypsy), Gay, retarded, deformed, suspected of being anti-hitler, etc.)

Someone can ALWAYS rationalize a land-grab. You just rationalized the grab of German lands.  AND you rationalized the dispossession of the 900,000 Arab Jews.

It’s important to realize that sometimes history is history. 1948 has come and gone.  Israel exists and ending its existence should be out of the question for anyone who deplores genocide.

It’s FAR more important to address the Netanyahu CURRENT land grabs and what is and is not reasonable for each side to expect, rather than make absurd demands the other side MUST reject.

As the Palestinians will reject being evicted so the Torah Orthodox can have “Judea” in place for the Moshiach to arrive, so the unlimited “Right of Return” for all Israel-born Palestinians AND THEIR Descendants will be rejected.  Both are talking points and unrealistic dreams.

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By nefesh, June 19, 2009 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, June 19 at 8:19 am wrote:

...every nation does this and Israel has the RIGHT to determine who can and cannot be admitted and can apply for citizenship, just like every other nation.

That was a great post, overall. But, I’m sure you know, the most reasoned argument will fall on deaf ears if the fundamental premise is ignored, Shingo’s being the poster-child rejectionist example: Israel is not like ANY other nation, is illegitimate, has no rights as a nation, and Arabs’ incessant wars of annihilation against her are therefore justified. As you know, that is the root cause of the issue - Arab refusal to accept the Jewish nation’s existence in the neighborhood. One of his posts below even say outright that the Jews are not a nation but a collection of co-religionists. It would be nice if you reminded the nosy bugger that self-determination is a right of ALL people, and by definition is not for others to decide. Carry on, carry on…..........

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By Inherit The Wind, June 19, 2009 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

Finally, Israel is theocracy and seemingly American aid to Israel is unconstitutional because it prohibits government establishment of religion.
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You must have a different version of the Constitution than I have.  There is NOTHING in MY version that prevents the USA from having relations or aiding ANY foreign state, whether it is a democracy, an autocracy, a Communist dictatorship or a theocracy.  Try reading the damn thing!

The “establishment clause” as it’s known refers to religious organizations WITHIN the United States.

The US has relations with the Vatican—as clear-cut a theocracy as ever existed. It’s perfectly Constitutional.

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

The land grab was unique in many regards. Unlike post WWII Germany, the land grab in 1948 was pre mediated for a start.  Secondly, Israel is still denying it ever happened.

And unlike the German people who were dispossessed, this dispossession is happening right before our eyes and has been for the past 60 years.

“Why are the Palestinian people more worthy than the Germans?”

I can think of 6 million reasons why.

As for the 900,000 Jews that were “dispossessed”, didn’t that take place AFTER the Nakba? 

With regards to the right of return, I don’t pretend to have the answer, but as always, your suggestion makes a great deal of sense.

Of course, your argument as to why the offspring should be denied right of return rings pretty hollow (ie. Not being born in Israel ) when Israel’s right of return is open to any Jew not born in Israel. 

With regard to the right to sue, again you make an excellent argument, though, and correct me if I’m wrong, is Germany still not paying reparations to Israel for the Holocaust? I accept that it is unique case, but it does bear consideration.

As always, I appreciate your balanced and honest views ITW.  Many Zionists could learn a great deal from listening to you.  It seems their greatest fear is that if they are honest about history and about Israel’s crimes/mistakes, and recognize the Palestinians as a legitimate population with legitimate aspiration, that it would lead to Israel’s demise.  Yet, you are one of the few Israel supporters that has demonstrated to me that such frankness would empower Israel and sway public opinion massively in Israel’s favor.

Your arguments are a breath of fresh air and along with Shephard, you two give me hope for the sould of Israel.

In 2007, here is Australia, the government finally went out on a limb and apologized to the aborigines for the crimes of the stolen generation (when babies from aboriginal families were taken from their families and fostered out to white families). 

Previous governments had been too afraid to do take this step for fear of recriminations, social unrest and lawsuits.  Yet when the Rudd government took that step, it was one of the most empowering moments of this country’s history.  It healed the country and it was a proud moment. 

I hope and pray that one day, Israel can take this step.  It would be good for Israel, good for the Palestinians and good for the Middle East in general.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 19, 2009 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

Shingo, June 19 at 1:16 am #

ITW,

While Khomeini was obviously concerned with a grab for power, the Iranian Revolution was more than a sideshow. 25 years of suffering under the oppression of a ruthless dictator, who’s Israeli trained Savak disappeared thousands of Iranians was plenty of motivations to get rid of the guy. To this day, the Iranians still remember 1953 pretty vividly, so that surely played a part in the rejection of “Westen Values”.
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Don’t get me wrong: SAVAK was a brutal organization.  But trained by Israelis?  Where’s the evidence of THAT?  Trained by US ops, yes—that’s well-document.  They already knew how to be brutal—they had to be trained how to apply it most effectively. 

Check chronology!  Israel is founded in 1948—the Shah falls in 1979—31 years later and SAVAK had been going for what, 20 years?  Hard to imagine that Israel could have reached that by then—after all, until Begin came in in the late 70’s, Israel had been ruled by liberal Laborites.

Still, it’s not the fall of the Shah, it’s the Soviet-like destruction of the infant democracy under Bahktiar for which Khomeini was responsible.  He wasn’t satisfied with overthrowing the Shah and freeing the people of his bloody reign.  No, Khomeini had NO interest in freedom and his subsequent 2nd revolution was even MORE brutal than the Shah’s.  He consumed his own like a cannibal, like Stalin.

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By bogi666, June 19, 2009 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

Shingo, perhaps we can speed up Americans opposition to Zionist of Israel imperialism. American aid to Israel is $500 per years with commitments for the next 10 years and has been the case for the last 30. This enables Israeli’s to have SOCIALIZED MEDICINE WHICH PAYS FOR CHOCOLATE MASSAGES for Israeli’s. They also provide tennis courts with clinics by paid professionals. All courtesy of the American taxpayers. Finally, Israel is theocracy and seemingly American aid to Israel is unconstitutional because it prohibits government establishment of religion.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 19, 2009 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

Shingo:

If you are going to single out the creation of Israel as a “unique land grab” then you are bending history yourself.

As I have pointed out MANY times (and even the holocaust-denier PGG agrees with this), after World War II, much of traditional Germany in East Prussia was stolen and the Germans forcibly moved out.  Some of East Prussia became part of the Soviet Union.  A large portion of Germany is now Poland and what was East Poland went to the Soviet Union as well.

As historians simplify it, Poland was moved West at Germany’s expense and the ethnic cleansing was blatant and out in the open—Stalin drove the Germans out with guns and bayonets.

Where is your outrage for the German people who were dispossessed, moved, lost their homes and ultimately spent the next 45 years under the brutal East German regime, whose only “product” was genetically engineered athletes?

Why are the Palestinian people more worthy than the Germans?

And Where is your outrage for the 900,000 Jews living in Arab nations who were similarly dispossessed of THEIR land, property and nations when THEY were forced out after 1948?  Aren’t THEY equally “entitled” as the Palestinians?

I’ve been thinking about the demanded “Right of Return” that the Palestinians want. Here’s my take:
Those Palestinians BORN in what is now Israel should be entitled to return.  They should be entitled to apply/sue to recover property that might have been wrongfully taken—but only via THE LAW.

But their offspring have no right of return.  Why should they? They were not BORN in Israel.  They should have to apply to immigrate just like anyone else. 

Change the context.  An American couple, say, left the US in the ‘50’s hounded by McCarthyism. They moved to, say, France and their children were born and raised there and are NOW adults and even have their own children.  There is NO WAY the USA would convey a “Right of Return” on those adult children and on those grandchildren.  The couple who left in the ‘50’s may well be entitled to the Right of Return, and, had their children been minors when they returned to the USA the children would then have been admitted and entitled to citizenship.

But not in the scenario I’ve laid out.  The context is different but the situation is the same for almost all the Palestinians who claim this “Right of Return”.  Very few under 61 years old are going to qualify for it.

But what about illegally seized property?  Again I would look at another situation—Nazi stolen art.  In that case, the descendants of the legitimate owners are entitled to sue to recover their property.  So should it be for the Palestinian descendants of refugees—they are entitled to recover improperly seized property, but NOT to the Right of Return.

But, you’ll say, “What about the Jews all over the world having a right to return?”  I’ve already answered that: Every nation has the sovereign right to determine who can immigrate and apply for citizenship.  It’s a CRITICAL sovereign right and power.  We, in the United States, have definite quotes of how many people per year can come from any country.  It is implicitly and blatantly racist as the applicant’s citizenship is ignored and their place of birth is used instead.  Still, every nation does this and Israel has the RIGHT to determine who can and cannot be admitted and can apply for citizenship, just like every other nation.

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

Thank you ardee, for educating the resident pathological liar and Israeli propagandist.

I suspect you won’t even get a response from Nefesh, and Nefesh tends to be the typical hit and run Zionist shill who is impervious to facts and having been corrected and refuted or countless occasions, will simply dust themselves off and return to repeat the same BS.

Your history is of course, on the money, though there is the added twist.  Even Ben Gurion recognized that the Palestinians were not simply Arabs, but a people unto themselves.  Shlomo Zand, a scholar from Tel Aviv University, released a paper, which not only debunks the myth of the exile and Diaspora, but reveals that the Palestinians are the progeny of the original Israelis, who later converted to Islam and Christianity.  Even the notion of a Jewish people is a romantic but baseless illusion, given that contrary to the myth,  Judaism was an evangelical religion that actively sought out new adherents during its formative period.

Judaism is a religion not a people.

I too am a little disappointed with Sepharad’s dishonesty, though I find it easy to forgive her.  She does have a habit of trying to frame the Arab Israeli conflict as struggle between equal parties, pretending that both sides have suffered equally for the past 60 years, when in fact, the conflict has been entirely one sided and merely prolonged because Israel has been happy to maintain the status quo.  Never has Israeli been on the receiving end of oppression or genuinely threatened.

What we witness time and time again, it a reality disconnect that is made possible by a psychosis that is unique in the world. 

Zionist propagandists have been able to pull off an astounding slight of hand on reality: the oppressed becomes the oppressor, the culprit becomes the victim, illegal colonization is cultural liberation, aggressive expansion is righteous reclamation, genocide is self-defense, apartheid is security, and ethnic cleansing is peace.

Zionism has had not choice but torewrite the past in order to somehow gain legitimacy as anything but a wholly racist ideology. In so doing, the Bible becomes a land deed and the displacement, dispossession, and disenfranchisement of an indigenous population becomes the unhappy, though inevitable, consequence of religious nationalism. Without erasing or ignoring the historical and cultural narratives of Palestinians, Israel cannot hide from the painful truth about its ugly past.  That is why Israel is now forced to consider outlawing remembrances of the Nakba.

Fortunately, all that seems to be changing.  US public support for Israel is falling like a stone, and even the evangelical wingnuts are losing interest.

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By I.G. Noble, June 19, 2009 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

I know I am wasting time. Here it is anyway.

“(The Chinese are now on the side of the United States, where much of their fortune is tied up.)”

I won’t comment on Pfaff’s main topic involving Professor Samuel Huntington’s odd notions about the clash of civilizations. That’s time to waste another day.

As to Pfaff’s aside, we must constantly keep in mind that every country in the history of the human race has only been on one side, its own. Any ruling class in any country would be rightfully subject to violent revolt if they made any decision against the country’s interest, allies be damned.

If China were on “our side” it would put more pressure on North Korea, with which it trades profitably in armaments. China also wants to be dominant in its region and not increase America’s influence there.

No country does anything that is not in its interest unless it is forced by a stronger country.
We constantly forget this primary rule of international affairs.

The bonds that tie nations are among the most ephemeral alliances.

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By ardee, June 19, 2009 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

I am rather disappointed in the words of Sepharad , who seemingly minimizes or excuses certain acts of violence as OK because there is a tradition of violence. I think this an intellectually dishonest position, certainly an inhumane one, regardless of the lukewarm gestures that she disapproves of all violence.

Regardless of which side one favors how on earth can you live with yourself in the face of the horrific acts committed by the State of Israel against innocents, and for sixty odd years and counting? One look at the disparate numbers of dead, with the Palestinians suffering a geometric disproportion of those, should make any decent person disgusted with the acts of a sovereign state.

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By ardee, June 19, 2009 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

Israel was not created on “Arab territory”. It was re-established on Jewish territory, as the Jews have lived in Israel continuously since the last time it was ever sovereign territory: the Jewish kingdoms. That’s right - “Palestine” - the name given to Israel by the Romans in a failed attempt to remove and deny the essential Jewish nature of and connection to the homeland, was only ever sovereign as a Jewish nation.

Well, nefesh, June 18 at 8:25 pm, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but certainly not to our own facts. Your opinion that Israel was always and ever a possession of the Jews is undoubtedly promoted by your partisan beliefs but not borne out by historical fact:

http://www.mideastweb.org/briefhistory.htm

The land variously called Israel and Palestine is a small, (10,000 square miles at present) land at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. During its long history, its area, population and ownership varied greatly. The present state of Israel occupies all the land from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean ocean, bounded by Egypt in the south, Lebanon in the north, and Jordan in the East. The recognized borders of Israel constitute about 78% of the land. The remainder is divided between land occupied by Israel since the 1967 6-day war and the autonomous regions under the control of the Palestinian autonomy. The Gaza strip occupies an additional 141 square miles south of Israel, and is under the control of the Palestinian authority.

Palestine has been settled continuously for tens of thousands of years. Fossil remains have been found of Homo Erectus, Neanderthal and transitional types between Neanderthal and modern man. Archeologists have found hybrid Emmer wheat at Jericho dating from before 8,000 B.C., making it one of the oldest sites of agricultural activity in the world. Amorites, Canaanites, and other Semitic peoples related to the Phoenicians of Tyre entered the area about 2000 B.C. The area became known as the Land of Canaan…....

Directly before the land was given to the refugee Jews it was a British colony, a legal possession of that nation in fact. How does one expect to find common ground and solutions when faced with such hypocracy and stubborn denial of the truth?

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By bogi666, June 19, 2009 at 3:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The “war of civilizations” is concocted for the purpose of creating war[s]. It is the implementation of what Hermann Goering, the NAZI war criminal, explained how easy it is for any government to manipulate its citizens into being willing to die unnecessarily. Use fear, patriotism, terror,and lies to create imaginary enemies[WMD’S in Iraq} is all it takes to persuade a country it’s under attack and wars are necessary for their survival. The NAZI’s used the destruction of the Reichstag for their purpose, the USA used the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, the WMD’s in 2002 not to mention the blowing up of the Maine in 1898 to create war with Spain.Interesting that all these phony scenarios involve the War Department/Pentagon and is on going for over 100 years. These are just the major incidents.

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By Shingo, June 19, 2009 at 12:46 am Link to this comment

Sepharad,

Whether Jews have lived there continuously or otherwise is interesting but entirely irrelevant.  Land ownership is not a game of musical chairs.
Whether the country was officially ruled by Palestinians or not is also irrelevant.  Palestinians were the majority and owned most of the land for a good deal of the last few centuries. 

Arabs Jews got along fine until European and Russian Jews began arriving. In fact, throughout history, Moslem’s have protected Jews from persecution.
Even the Sunni and Shia sectarian hostilities has been hyped in an effort to portray Muslims as warring and irrational.  Take the wars of the last century and consider how many Arabs died at the hands of other Arabs compared to WWI and WWII.  Western violence has been an order of magnitude greater than anything Muslims have inflicted on others and one another.

Of course, we need not mention that the worst persecution of Jews came not at the hands of Arabs, but of a sophisticated Western society.

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By Sepharad, June 19, 2009 at 12:10 am Link to this comment

Shingo, Jews have lived there continuously, though post-Roman most of them were clustered in Jerusalem and other smaller towns rather than in the countryside. Since that time, no native of the country ruled Palestine, though the Ottomans were Moslem. I don’t believe there is a god who gives people land or decide which people to protect. Arabs don’t hate Jews because they are Jews, but because they are not Moslems and are living (not as dhimmis, which would be OK with Arabs) in a land that was once part of the caliphate. The violence between Jews and Arabs in the rebirth of the Jewish state and since is horrible, but not notable in that region’s history of warring tribes, not notable compared to Sunni and Shiia sectarian hostilities, not notable compared to Moslem hostilities with Hindus and Sikhs and India. I’m not saying the violence shouldn’t stop, or that the early Zionists were not too pushy, sometimes less than ethical and sometimes wrong, or that the Israelis are 100% innocent—just that it is nothing new and not as bad as Arab-on-Arab violence. To me, the real tragedy is that the Jews and Palestinian Arabs have both continued to sabotage and fail to grasp the enormous potential (which still remains) to stop the killing, stop the injustice, stop the hate-mongering on both sides, acknowledge the wrongs both have done to the other and, on the Israeli’s side, offer compensation financial as well as emotional, treat one another as human beings, and form two states that are independent but perhaps linked economically with a shared capital in Jerusalem. This would lead to more modernization and civic development in other Middle Eastern countries.

The last time I was in Israel, over last Thanksgiving, we spent some time with an Israeli Arab friend whose family has lived for generations in East Jerusalem, near where the City of David archaeological site is. Both he and his father participated in the digs, gave tours and sold such small artifacts and fragments as the department of antiquities allowed. The father is now dead, and the son and his brother are carrying on the business. But he said he wanted to leave it to his brother and move to the U.S., where he went to university, because the politics of both sides were driving him crazy. He loves Jerusalem but wants to get away from the tense atmosphere in which everything is political and fraught. At home, we have an artist’s drawing of a proto-semitic language fragment she saw written large on a cliff face while camping in the Sinai. That would be before Aramaic, before Hebrew, before Arabic. It would be a shame if we can’t figure out how to divide and share the land as the languages evolved—different, but somewhat the same as we both read and write from right to left (backwards, to Europeans).

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By Shingo, June 18, 2009 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

He cannot delegitimize the Jewish nation by claiming the land is Arab territory, and not Jewish. We call bullshit, Pfaff.

By nefesh, June 18 at 8:25 pm

Most of the land was stolen and never belonged to Jews, therefore it was never Jewish land.

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By Shingo, June 18, 2009 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

ITW,

While Khomeini was obviously concerned with a grab for power, the Iranian Revolution was more than a sideshow. 25 years of suffering under the oppression of a ruthless dictator, who’s Israeli trained Savak disappeared thousands of Iranians was plenty of motivations to get rid of the guy. To this day, the Iranians still remember 1953 pretty vividly, so that surely played a part in the rejection of “Westen Values”.

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By Shingo, June 18, 2009 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

nefesh,

“Open your eyes and your heart and accept the fact that Jews have re-established their rightful place in their own homeland.”

What makes the place of Jews in Palestine rightful?  Because your God told you it was so?  What makes Israel more your territory than it does the Palestinians or any other population that lived there?

Even if you tried to argue that the Jews have exclusive right sot it because they were there first, that too is pure BS.  Jerusalem was not even created by the Jews but by the Canaanites.

Sepharad,

Nefesh’s version of history is a fairy revisionist fairy tale.  We’ve covered this before and you know better.

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By Shingo, June 18, 2009 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

nefesh,

At the time of Israel’s creation, in 1948, Jews only held title to 7% of the land, and Arabs 50%.  the state of Israel as given 40%.

There is no basis in the assertion that “the Jews” have lived in Israel continuously, because a great majority of the original Israelis either left the land, or converted to Islam and Christianity
Prior to 1948, Israel had never been a sovereign state.

It is also a blatant Zionist lie to suggest that Palestine was a back backwater province.  Palestine was a thriving community with a government and even a constitution as early as 1914.  as of 1906, Jews made up less that 10% of the population. 

The Arabs hate Israel because their land was stolen in 1948.  They hate the Israali Jews for the same reason the Jews hated the Nazis.  Everyone hates their oppressors.  The argument about Diminitude is pure Zionist propaganda and a blatant attempt to deflect the debate way from the elephant in the room, Israel aggression, ethic cleansing, land theft and occupation.

Jews and Arabs lived in relative harmony before European and Russian Jews began arriving. The old red herring about achievement in education, science and what not is pure Zionist drivel.  The Arabs could care less about what Jews have achieved.

You are the one spreading bullshit you racist, fascist cretin.

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By Sepharad, June 18, 2009 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

nefesh’s history is correct, if stark, though I believe that countries like Egypt and Iran would be performing much like Turkey, Israel and other first-world countries if they were not crippled by colonialism, kings/dictators and religious craziness. Re the latter, Israel is not immune: their internal problems with fundamentalist Jews are dragging on their society and making peace with the Palestinians harder than it should be. 

Inherit identified the three truthful paragraphs in the entire Pfaff piece.

The ongoing wars and push-and-pulls everywhere are about resources, regional hegemony and/or hubris. paranoia, and far-right-religious extremism combined with an unrealistic longing for the expansion of another caliphate. (The caliphate in al Andalus weakened itself by internecine quarrels, or the Spanish would not have succeeded with their bloody Reconquista.) In the case of Al Quaeda, and their imitators, it is NOT a clash of civilizations because the law they seek to impose is not civilized, at least not in the modern world. Even the conservative Pakistani villagers are, when given the chance, turning against the Taliban, having had a taste of their world. Terrorists are not states, though some are proxies of states, and thus have no legitimate claim to call themselves civilizations—unless we are stupid enough to attack every Moslem state in site as in whack-a-mole, hoping to shake terrorists from the trees. Now you’re getting into the clash of civilization or non-civilization zone.

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By nefesh, June 18, 2009 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

Fadel Abdallah, June 18 at 11:34 pm wrote:

Who are you nefesh?!

I am your worst enemy. But that’s only because you make it so. Open your eyes and your heart and accept the fact that Jews have re-established their rightful place in their own homeland. Now, Jewish sovereignty in their national homeland wherein they maintain a majority population does not have to be mutually exclusive from political self-determination for the Arabs of Judea and Samaria and those in Gaza. I have never once read anything from you where you address this fact and try to make a positive contribution for the sake of ALL the people involved in this conflict. You may choose to live in denial for the rest of your life, but then you will probably have to keep posting the absurdly comic vitriol we see from you daily.

=========================================

Are you the ultimate deaf, dumb and blind to deny what the whole world, including lately the most radical Zionists, like Netanyahu, are coming to terms with after living in denial for almost seven decades?!

Whatever.

========================

Or perhaps you’re, like Samuel Huntington, suffering from the bipolar disease! The solution to your disease is not in pouring your bullshit on these forums! I hope that you have a little brain left in your brainless head to know that the solution to your bipolar disease is a psychiatric facility!

I’ll condense your own message for you, in your own words:

ultimate deaf, dumb and blind
bipolar disease!
disease
little brain
brainless head
bipolar disease
psychiatric facility!

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 18, 2009 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

Who are you nefesh?! Are you the ultimate deaf, dumb and blind to deny what the whole world, including lately the most radical Zionists, like Netanyahu, are coming to terms with after living in denial for almost seven decades?!

Or perhaps you’re, like Samuel Huntington, suffering from the bipolar disease! The solution to your disease is not in pouring your bullshit on these forums! I hope that you have a little brain left in your brainless head to know that the solution to your bipolar disease is a psychiatric facility!

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By Inherit The Wind, June 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

Despite the first paragraphs of Pfaff’s article being mostly pure, unadulterated crap, the meat of the article rings true:

The West was wrong about this being a war of civilizations, and so were the Muslims. George W. Bush’s Great War on Global Terror, against Islamic radicalism and Muslim terrorism, and the Great Fear that came close to paralyzing America after 9/11, and continues to preoccupy the American and West European governments, are both fundamentally due to a crisis inside Islamic civilization: a double crisis, of modernity and of religion.

Nothing could be clearer today in Tehran. Iran is convulsed by a struggle between its modernizing classes, reaching out to become part of a cosmopolitan international society, and to possess the respect of Western nations (if necessary, through the dangerous possession of nuclear weapons, as well as other evidences of Western modernity), and to be taken into the high councils of the modern world and be invited to participate in the rounds of international meetings where the Iranians no doubt think the world’s problems are today being settled over their heads and against their interests.

The Iranian modernizers want all this, while remaining an Islamic great power (the Islamic Great Power, if possible). They want it without losing their immortal souls and their civilization. They will, of course, as others before them (as in Turkey, and on the Christian side, in Europe and the United States), find that this combination is not easily achieved.

I think these 3 paragraphs are unassailable and true

But then Pfaff adds this:

That is why they also suffer a religious crisis. The ayatollahs’ revolution in 1979 was a successful rejection by the Iranians of the flamboyant Westernization efforts of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, America’s “gendarme in the Middle East.”

Here he lapses back into crap.  Had the Ayatolloh Khomeini been Pat Robertson, it would be obvious to Pfaff that it was nothing more than yet another religious grab at power and wealth, using the Shah as the excuse to demand complete and totalitarian power over every aspect of Shi’ite lives. Khomeini was no different than many other religious leaders, from the Robertsons, the the Jim Joneses to the Torah Orthodox supporting Lieberman in Israel today, to the Wahabbists in the Sunni world and to other corrupt religious leaders around the world.

“We have God on our side and He is guiding our hand and our words.  Therefore EVERYTHING we say and do is God’s will and ANYONE who opposes us is working for Satan, Shaitan, Beelzebub, the Dybuyk and other other name you give to The Devil. The Devil’s disciples MUST BE DESTROYED without mercy.”

Nothing ever changes. All religions are the same. They all fail when they allow the “Devil Destroyers” a say and ruling power.  Because their goal is ALWAYS to keep the people poor, ignorant and terrified of Hell.

Pfaff doesn’t see this.  I’m not surprised.

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By nefesh, June 18, 2009 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

Pfaff writes:

Islamic radicalism was not understood as a politico-nationalist reaction to foreign intrusion, composed of collective Arab enmity toward Israel because of its creation on Arab territory, and fear of a Western strategic threat to the region’s strategic resources.

Israel was not created on “Arab territory”. It was re-established on Jewish territory, as the Jews have lived in Israel continuously since the last time it was ever sovereign territory: the Jewish kingdoms. That’s right - “Palestine” - the name given to Israel by the Romans in a failed attempt to remove and deny the essential Jewish nature of and connection to the homeland, was only ever sovereign as a Jewish nation. Jews started returning to Israel to join the ones who were never exiled or left generations earlier, in the late 19th century, when the ruling power was the Ottoman (Turkish) empire. Not Arab, but Turkish. And it had been a Turkish backwater province of little interest to any Arab entity. The Arabs hate Israel because they are Jews, above all else - it is a huge thorn in their side and an affront to their pride that Jews - traditionally the Dhimmi people, should now rule themselves as equals alongside Arab nations. And outperform them in every measurable way - education, economics, health care, standard of living. All without the benefit of oil. Pfaff is too slick to be anything other than willfully ignorant or outright lying. He cannot delegitimize the Jewish nation by claiming the land is Arab territory, and not Jewish. We call bullshit, Pfaff.

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